Album Review: Reverence to Paroxysm – Lux Morte

Album Review: Reverence to Paroxysm - Lux Morte
Reviewed by Sam Jones

There’s been another explosion of extreme metal bands in the last few years yet we haven’t gazed over towards Mexico for some time; that’s where Reverence To Paroxysm come into play, preparing to unleash their first full length record through Me Saco Un Ono Records. Formed in 2020 and hailing from Mexico City, Reverence To Paroxysm (RTP) are another death metal act that Mexico can boast, whereupon their first release, a Split, featured alongside Spanish act Pestilength. Two years later the band released a live album before working on their first full length record; it’s not exactly your typical release schedule whereby RTP are yet to do any Demos or EPs. However, Lux Morte, lined up for a late August release window, features a scathing cover art that resembles the darker side of metal. Let’s see what these guys are capable of.

It must be stated just how filthy the bass tone is on this album; it strikes with all the malice and murky mire one would expect a swamp to sound like should it be capable of speech. What I’ll give it credit for, is how it refuses to stand in the shadows whilst the primary riffs provide the meat of the songwriting; the bass is fat, unrestrained and harnesses all the bile and guts a work of cacophonous death metal would be expected to possess. Since the bass has been thrust so far forward in the band’s mix, it creates a binding onslaught along with the main guitar work whereby the two intertwine their collective performances, crafting an atmosphere where nothing escapes let alone your attention. What’s telling however is, whilst the band appeared adamant on providing this crushing aesthetic, the atmosphere isn’t so heavy that we can’t breathe. The tone is alleviating just enough whereby you can take everything the band can throw at you without feeling like you couldn’t take the same again in another upcoming song.

The vocals are just as much the same as the bass tone too; these are amongst the deepest and most hideously guttural death metal vocals I’ve experienced this year for there’s little hope of deciphering words herein. Expect to interpret the vocals as much as you’d listen to a riff sequence or piece of drumming; it’s another instrumental element the band capitalised on and while it may not move too greatly round, up not down, it still provides that crushing aesthetic that helps bind the record together as a collective whole. Additionally, owing to the band’s gradual, creeping pace as well, the vocals will stick to one form of speed for the album’s entirety. While this may limit the band’s vocals through a sharp absence of pace variety, the methodically trudging style allows our attention to never wander far for the steady performance creates an accessible flow that we can follow.

Album Review: Reverence to Paroxysm - Lux Morte

Sometimes, when an album has been mixed in the way Lux Morte has been, there’s the risk of drowning out the drums, and especially when a bass and guitar tone such as is present. It’s therefore nice to acknowledge the recognised impact and strength the drums are able to infer; all the while the riffs are providing power to the record, the drums still manage to showcase the impact that would be lost had the mix gone a different path. The band’s soundscape is inherently massive but with the implementation of the bass drums it’s becomes significantly bigger as the band’s presence swells, underlaying the album in a coat of thundering flurries that lend the record a foundation that enables the cacophonous vibe to bounce and rebound, giving the band’s performance a sense of substance and place. It’s great to note how we can still hear Tom-toms struck and the faint traces of cymbals playing too, for these aspects can be forgotten easily when a band have cavernous atmosphere in mind.

Considering the nature of death metal RTP play, and the production quality they’ve vied for with this record, it makes it all the more impressive how quickly this record plays at. Knowing there are only six tracks in all and some of these stretch onwards of seven to nine minutes long, it makes their engagement all the more impressive since the band don’t offer much in the way of track diversity nor does their songwriting attempt to hint at things unique and outside the realms of what they start out with. At no point or turn in the record did I find my attention waning nor was I bored by the songwriting; this is a near forty-five minute album of crushing, cacophonous death metal and yet they maintained my engagement from start to finish. I’d put it down to how the band rent their songwriting with just enough alleviation in the tone that it isn’t totally suffocating; I still recognised my capacity to breathe and inflect on what I’d experienced. The band don’t punish us for becoming invested in their soundscapes and it does benefit from that.

In conclusion, Lux Morte is an all-encompassing record that manages to stay the course and provide a satisfying forty-five minute run from start to finish that’s able to provide a crushing performance whilst still giving us enough room to breathe. I can see Reverence To Paroxysm fitting in well at a festival like Total Death Over Mexico, their Mexican background of course makes a festival like that a perfect candidate for an international scene to learn of their prowess. I especially enjoyed how they don’t oversaturate their performance with too many tracks, or one too many slower sequences. The diversity in songwriting may not be abundant but there’s enough present going on for us to recognise that we are getting enough to justify these lengthy tracks. It’s been some time since I checked out a work of truly cacophonous death metal and I’m more than glad Reverence To Paroxysm were one of them.

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